Must Know Cannabis And Drug-Impaired Driving Laws In Canada

February 15th, 2020 by

Driving while high cannabis

Are the drug-impaired driving penalties for Canadian cannabis users serious? Strict regulations are in effect, and you’ll be surprised how life-altering the penalties are.


We’ll go over some of the things you need to know about cannabis use and the new drug-impaired laws in Canada.


  • Dangers of Drug-impaired Driving
  • Common Side Effects
  • What happens to your body while driving high?
  • Keep Safe and Plan Ahead
  • Drug-impaired Driving Laws and Penalties
  • Respect Others and Respect Yourself


Canada, the true north, strong, and free. Once again, our great nation is in the lead for progressive change, by being the first and so far the only country in North America to legalize the use of marijuana nation-wide!


We lead the world in an incredible mind-expanding journey in October of 2018 when cannabis products were legalized throughout Canada..


Hobby smokers and medical users alike rejoiced, as the stigma behind recreational and even medical marijuana use began to recede and become more socially acceptable.


However, the use of this celebrity plant came with a lot of strict laws as well as severe punishment if the rules were ever broken.


The strictest laws and harshest punishments fall under all drivers across the country. In a perfect world, every single person in Canada has read and memorized the new restrictions that come with the legalization of weed.


But of course, it is safe to say that there are users out there that are not as familiarized with these new laws as they should be.


Dangers of Drug-impaired Driving 


Cannabis can be incredibly beneficial for recreational use as well as medicinal use. There are many benefits, such as aid in relaxation after a long day, suppress anxiety, and even pain relief.


However, marijuana can alter your senses, as well as your ability to think or even move as you usually would sober.


Common Side Effects


Each strain may induce different types of side effects, and the severity of the side effect may also differ depending on how high the THC content is and how each individual person’s body reacts to it.


nonetheless, a few side effects may include, but are not limited to:


  • Paranoia
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Disorientation
  • Sleepiness and Lethargy
  • Heightened anxiety


Although severe side effects are uncommon, the common side effects can be dangerous depending on what activities a person chooses to do while under the influence.


When consuming cannabis, It is of the utmost importance to ensure you are in a safe and familiar place with people you trust in order to protect yourself and the people around you at all times.


Furthermore, it is utterly crucial to ensure you take precautionary measures and do not get behind the wheel when high or smoke while driving.


What happens to your body while driving high?


There are rumors that state a person can drive better while high. This is simply a very damaging rumor, as in-depth studies have proven quite the opposite.


  • Studies show that reaction times are slower, which obviously means that making decisions quickly can be difficult until it is too late.


  • Drivers are unable to fully concentrate on the multiple activities and moving objects on the road; this means that impaired drivers may not notice signal lights, road signs, passing vehicles, or pedestrians while focusing on something else.


  • Motor skills are profoundly affected, and driving in a straight line and at an appropriate speed within your designated lane can prove to be quite challenging and deadly.


Keep Safe and Plan Ahead


According to nation-wide police reports submitted to the government in 2015, a total of 72,039 impaired driving incidents. 122 of the incidents reported resulted in death. Approximately 3000 were drug-related impaired driving, resulting in 7 deaths.


Now that marijuana is legal, these stats have, in fact, increased, and the percentage of drug-related car crashes that have killed Canadians exceeds the deadly car crashes related to drunk driving.


Now more than ever, it is essential that each and every one of us takes personal responsibility to keep ourselves and the people around us safe.


Furthermore, if you see a vehicle struggling to keep control on the road and will not pull over, be sure to contact local police while following distracted driving laws set in place.


It really is up to every driver on the road to help keep each other safe.


If you need to get from one place to another while being high, make sure you have a DD (designated driver) or Uber on speed dial.


There are plenty of ways to get a DD to take you home safely, like a family member, friend, an Uber, or taxi.


If you are the DD and find yourself in a less than suitable state to drive, there are even designated driving services available like Drive Smart Calgary. DSC specializes in transporting individuals and their vehicles home.


Drug-impaired Driving Laws and Penalties


Alright, so we have covered the obvious dangers of driving under the influence; now we’ll cover the laws and hefty consequences of getting caught behind the wheel while high.


In Canada, the leading criminal cause of death is, in fact, driving while impaired, and the percentage involving drugs is quickly rising. It is no wonder why the ramifications of engaging in such an act are so heavy.


It is illegal to smoke or consume cannabis if you are under the age of majority, which could be 18 or 19, depending on your province.


It is also illegal to take part in marijuana while driving or driving while high. Do not let passengers smoke marijuana while you are driving, as the smoke inhalation of another user may cause you to feel the effects of a high.


Below we have listed a less detailed description of the penalties involved with driving while high. Keep in mind that the consequences may be even more severe, depending on the gravity of the offense.


Along with the penalties listed below, your driver’s license may also be revoked.



      1.First offense:

  • Mandatory minimum fine of $1000
  • Maximum imprisonment of 10 years


  1. Second offense:
  • Mandatory minimum fine of $1000
  • Minimum of 30 days of imprisonment
  • Maximum imprisonment of 10 years


  1. Third offense:
  • Mandatory minimum fine of $1000
  • Minimum of 120 days of imprisonment
  • Maximum imprisonment of 10 years


  1. Refusal to comply with demand for samples: 
  • First offense will lead to a mandatory minimum fine of $2000


  • Second offense will lead to a mandatory minimum of 30 days imprisonment and a maximum of 10 years.


  • Third offense will lead to a mandatory 120 days imprisonment and a maximum of 10 years imprisonment.


  1. Cause bodily harm: 
  • Maximum imprisonment of 14 years


  1. Cause death: 
  • Maximum of life imprisonment


So, if it isn’t evident by now, driving under the influence is against the law and can result in a catastrophic series of events.


The best way to avoid criminal charges, or dramatically impacting your life or the life of others, is to set yourself up for success by following the safety guidelines mentioned earlier.


Respect Others and Respect Yourself


Police statistics prove how quickly things can become out of control and how lives can change forever.


Please do not drive while high. Your safety and the safety of others are not worth experimenting with how good your driving skills are under the influence.


You, your relatives, the people you love, and the people in your community should be able to go home to families every day.


Here at House of Cars, we love and worry about our community. We believe that safety is everyone’s responsibility, and we urge the citizens of this great nation to care and respect each other by looking out for one another and practicing safe driving habits.


If you or someone you know is struggling with problematic use of marijuana and marijuana products, please contact your general physician.


Side effect references have been provided by reputable sources such as and, among others. Click here for a complete and detailed list of sources/references/studies directly related to driving while impaired (cannabis). 


This article was created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or legal advice. Always seek the advice of a professional. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website or anywhere online. Reliance on any information provided by, employees, contracted writers or medical professionals presenting content for publication to House of Cars Inc. is solely at your own risk. Links to educational content not created by House of Cars are taken at your own risk. House of Cars Inc. is not responsible for the claims of external websites and education companies.

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